Contact: Danielle Lamson
Communications Manager
610 Campus Drive
Abingdon, VA 24210

August 12, 2013

ABINGDON, VA (August 12, 2013) – As the local provider of intellectual disability services, Highlands Community Services is excited to announce that the Social Security Administration officially ruled that it will discontinue use of the term “mental retardation” and instead adopt the term “intellectual disability”.

The SSA states, “This final rule adopts, without change, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) we published in the Federal Register on January 28, 2013. We are replacing the term ‘mental retardation’ with ‘intellectual disability’ in our Listing of Impairments that we use to evaluate claims involving mental disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act and in other appropriate sections of our rules. This change reflects the widespread adoption of the term ‘intellectual disability’ by Congress, government agencies, and various public and private organizations. This final rule is effective September 3, 2013.”

This change in terminology is a huge victory for people with disabilities throughout our nation and comes just a few years after President Obama’s signing of Rosa’s Law which substituted the stigmatizing r-word with the terms “intellectual disability” and “individual with an intellectual disability” in federal health, education, and labor policy statutes.

Fay Morris – Director of Intellectual Disability Services for HCS – recently expressed that, “There continues to be movement, and we are so excited! I am proud to say, as an agency, we adopted the change in the terminology in the early stages of mere discussion and truly appreciate the support of our staff and community in doing so!”

Highlands Community Services is a multi-faceted Community Service Board providing Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Intellectual Disability services to the residents of Bristol and Washington County, VA. To learn more call 276.525.1550 or log onto www.highlandscsb.org .



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